The Whitechapel Fountain is the last remaining trace of the ‘white chapel’ that gave a name to this East London district. This drinking fountain was established in 1860 to provide free and clean drinking water to workers in a time when cholera was widespread and affordable alternatives limited. The park adjoining the fountain, known as St Mary’s Park until 1998, was renamed Altab Ali Park in memory of a Bangladeshi leather worker murdered in a racist attack in 1978 – an event which launched Bengali community activism in the area.
Young people have been involved throughout the restoration of the fountain – exploring its layered history and learning hands-on about stonemasonry skills.
“Thank you Ali, we know racism affected you a lot and you died but left peace for our community.”
Zain, age 15, from London Enterprise Academy
“Restoration to bring back to life
Giving water to those who suffered with strife.”
Aisha, aged 14
“The children and staff had such a wonderful experience and we would definitely recommend this site to others. Thank you.”
Shaheda Khanom, Deputy Head of Buttercup Primary